The 3 A's... Africa, Asia & the Americas

See Virtual Tours of Iguazu Falls in Brazil

5jan07

Hi Everyone > > And a Happy New Year to you all!! > > Thankyou for the various emails sending Christmas > > and NY wishes ... > >

Well it´s been ages since I sent an update email.... > > My apolgies... We´ve ben too busy motoring around South America. > > I thought I´d write an email though to tell you about our very special  Christmas (Iguazu Falls, Argentina and NY Rio!!). We absolutely broke our backs travelling on 26 hr bus journeys, overnight trips the lot cos we had decided that we wanted to be in these 2 places for then. It was worth every bit of it though....

New Year In Rio they put a LOT of effort into NY. Lined all along the water in Copacobana beach were big barges, carrying thousands and thousands of fireworks which were let off at midnight. On the beach were 3 big auditoriums where live bands played all evening from 8pm until early hours of the morning. The beach was absolutely packed with people, many of whom had brought candles and flowers and they made this little kind of ´altars´in the sand. The tradition here is to wear white (or less commonly red) and I was very surprised when we stepped out of our hotel room (me in my white outfit - Simon in a blue and white shirt) to bump into other couples dressed > > entirely in white. It really looked very romantic... especially when we got out into the street and hundreds of people wandered about, all wearing white. People had really made an effort...

So, after a nice meal on the seafront, we wandered down to the beach ready for the countdown to midnight. The fireworks were really amazing and went on for at least 20 minutes, when, after the barges had let all there fire off, a couple of the bigger hotels, one at either end of the beach, started some kind of firework competition - seeing who could out do the other..... The one nearest us won hands down when they set an inferno of white ´fairy lights´ tricking down all 4 walls of the building - it looked amazing. After all the firework excitement, we set off, battling through the crowds to listen to the live bands......

We turned in around 4am, after I´d tried desparately to find a nightclub to have a boogy .... Rio is an AMAZING place. It´s such a beautiful city, with the beaches running the length of the city. The whole place is buzzing. We went running along the beach road at sunset a few nights ago - that was nice. Now that we no longer have the gym in the hotel, we´ll be doing that every night. Surrounding the city are all these big rock like mountains - Sugar Loaf mountain being the most famous. The massive big statue of Jesus (called Christ the Redeemer) looms over the city on Corcovado mountain. And there´s just this beautiful skyline of all the exclusive hotels that line the beach road.

It really is somewhere I would love to live - only the language poses a bit of a problem for that!! For the last 3 months we´ve really come on with our Spanish and were actually starting to get quite good, to come here where they speak portugese!!! It´s such a difficult language - they sound as if they´re speaking scandinavian!

Christmas That too was really special, in a different way. We stayed in the Sheraton Hotel. Our room looked directly on the the Iguazu Falls. The falls are 20 m higher than Niagra and 1/2 as wide again. We were there for Christmas eve, until the 27th. Each of those 4 days, we visited the falls, seeing it from different angles, yet we never tired of it. They have built these amazing walkways that took you so close to the falls. You could walk above the falls, or right up to the base where the falls tumbled down. So close that we got soaked by the violent spray.....

On Christmas day we took a boat ride that starts down river from the falls, and takes you through the rapids right up to the base of the falls. They told us that we´d get a shower like none other we´d had before, and they meant it!! We got well and truly soaked from the spray of the falls. We were so close to the base of the falls - it really felt exhilarating!!! That was VERY special day indeed!!

A very different Christmas.... Made all the more special by the place that we were staying. It was LUXURY to have white fluffy towels, cotton sheets and fluffy  blankets and....... a hairdryer!!!!! It really was!!! It´s amazing what a bit of deprivation can do for ones appreciation of simple things!! We didn´t get the typical turkey and trimmings for Christmas dinner, instead we had a lovely 5 course meal, with steak for the main, and not on Christmas day, but Xmas eve - that´s the tradition here.

So that was our Christmas and New Year... Argentina is THE place to come for a holiday right now. With the way the economy is it isd SOOOoo cheap!! Our 5 course Christmas meal would have been $45 pp at the old exchange rate.... not including the champagne we drank. Instead it was $14 !! Can you believe it!! I even had a mini- shopping spree when I bought my white outfit for NY - that felt very good !!!! And I only spent about $15!!! I defintely recommend it for a holiday with a difference.... We´re just gutted we can´t spend more time here!!

We fly back to the UK for a fleeting visit on the 14th Jan, before we head to South Africa...... Oh well, bye for now everyone.... Lots of love Wendy xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Festivals & Events in Argentina